Emile Smith Rowe has spoken on Arsenal-bound Declan Rice with a move for the midfielder getting closer to competition.
Declan Rice is set to become the all-time most expensive British player in football history after Arsenal have agreed a £105million deal for the West Ham captain. The last little details are being ironed out before the medical can take place which is expected to happen within the next 48 hours.
Emile Smith Rowe knows the 24-year-old midfielder well after playing alongside him while on international duty with England last year. The Arsenal midfielder was called up to the England camp in March 2022 where he and Rice both featured in a friendly match against the Ivory Coast.
The two also trained together frequently while on international duty and Emile Smith Rowe has heaped praise on the Arsenal-bound midfielder by stating he was surprised at how good Declan Rice actually was.
Emile Smith Rowe on Declan Rice: “I can’t speak highly enough of him. I remember my first camp and I was surprised with how good he actually was. He was the best in training. Just his level, intensity, technically, everything he was doing. A real leader and still so young. He was really, really good.”
There was some speculation around a possible departure for Smith Rowe at the start of the summer but the reports were deemed false after Mikel Arteta has big plans for his number 1o ahead of next season.
Despite the added competition with Kai Havertz and Declan Rice joining the club, Emile Smith Rowe is set to play a much bigger role for Arsenal next season with Mikel Arteta aiming to deploy the 22-year-old in Granit Xhaka’s position for the 2023/24 campaign. Emile Smith Rowe still has a contract at Arsenal until 2026.
Granit Xhaka is set to leave the club after Arsenal complete the deal for Declan Rice with the Swiss midfielder expected to join Bayer Leverkusen in Germany ahead of next season.
Emile Smith Rowe recently spoke on last season and how it was the most difficult year of his career so far: “Arsenal are my club and I’m not going to give up until Arteta says he doesn’t want me.”
For the time being, Smith Rowe is away with the England u21s at the u21 European Championship. England face Portugal in the quarter-finals on Sunday. The Arsenal midfielder has scored two goals during the competition so far as he looks to kick-on ahead of returning to Arsenal next season.
Declan Rice is back from his holiday this week where Arsenal and West Ham are set to finalise a deal for the midfielder by Monday. The two clubs have already agreed a £105million fee, and all that remains is the agreement on the payment structure.